Introduction to Music

Overview

Our existence at the most rudimentary level could consist of

Sleeping

Eating

Working

This would work if we were only a physical organism without a mind or emotions.

Our soul or spirit, however, demands more . . .

* A set of religious beliefs, but more importantly, a set of moral or spiritual values

* Recreational pursuits for both mind and body

* Aesthetic expansion through exposure to consideration and absorption of the arts

Describe evolution of a chair from one-legged stool to three-legged stool to chair and eventually all concessions to comfort and aesthetics including shape, color, etc.

* how that applies to cars and clothing

* Individual tastes then influence personal preferences in choices we make about everything. It could be described as a developed aesthetic taste (a personal definition of what is beautiful).

This need in the arts has been fulfilled through five areas of artistic endeavor, known as the Fine Arts

5 Fine Arts

Painting Architecture Literature Music Sculpture

Useful Arts

(skills resulting in fulfillment of basic living needs while also satisfying aesthetic need)

Sewing Masonry Cabinetry Cooking, Etc.

The term "art" is used in both instances. A definition might be useful:

"Art is skill which results in the creation of beauty and order and/or serves as a type of language."

Music has been called the language of emotion. It is the most abstract. You canít see it, touch it, or smell it. You hear it, experience it momentarily as it cannot be frozen. Its effect is both immediate and residual. While it is the most abstract it is also the most direct. (It enters the ear, tickles the subcortex of the brain and then leaves, having done its thing on both the conscious and subconscious level. None of the other arts has this immediacy.

It also has the capacity to influence and modify behavior, to be politically persuasive, to increase buying in the supermarket, etc.

Time Article

Background Music -- But Itís Good for You

"The music darts into the ear, does its subtle job in the subcortex of the brain, then slips out the other ear without saying good-bye. The listener is all but unaware that he/she had heard anything, but the music has sloshed around inside his head, and relieved of the humdrum business of thinking, he feels better immediately. The mouth smiles. He likes his work, loves his wife, spends his money. The only thing he has to fear is silence, but thanks to a company called Muzak and its many imitators in the background music business, he had nothing to worry about.

The total musication of America is by now almost complete. Muzak gets the credit for being the biggest noise maker of all. The soft comforting sounds heard each day by more than 60 million people - in hospitals and mortuaries, elevators and space capsules, prisons and jute mills. It even plays during all top secret conferences in the Pentagon, where its mission is to confound eavesdroppers by drowning out all the secret talk.

Muzak programmers have studies that show precisely when workers get grumpy and lazy (10:30 in the morning, 3:30 in the afternoon), and they use their knowledge to plan programs of counteracting melodies, saving strong medicine... for the two big slumps.

Muzak keeps an ear cocked for any music that might cause emotional outbursts in its audience. Deep in the Heart of Texas causes workers to clap their hands, forgetting their tasks, and rock Ďn roll makes waitresses put down the soup and dance. Muzakís special service for jet airplanes has discreetly abandoned playing Iíve Got a Feeling Iím Falling. At last they achieve their artistic ambition: music to be utterly ignored."

August 30, 1963

Finally, it appears that the brain seems to be wired for music and that some of its processes are enhanced by it. Most people can remember scores of tunes and recognize hundreds more but usually we can remember only snatches of a few prose passages.

As the title of our class suggests, this experience will hopefully introduce you to the total spectrum of possibilities in music from most serious (classical) to popular. Our emphasis will be on the serious, but we will not slight the popular.

My goal is to whet your interest, to help you become an enlightened listener, a discerning consumer.

In one sense I will take you to an open doorway and invite you to look out at the panorama of music that lays before us. You may elect to walk out and sample more completely what I point out to you as this class concludes at the end of the quarter. You may also do otherwise.

SCHEDULE -- REQUIREMENTS -- GRADING

(to lecture on elements)

Elements of Music

RHYTHM

a series of weak and strong pulses or beats

Two basic patterns or meters in Western culture, more complex in other culturesother

Two - duple or its multiples

ILLUSTRATION

Water Music/Country Dance II/Handel/

Archive CD 410-525-2 (#18)

Three-triple or its multiples

ILLUSTRATION

Boleras Sevillanas/folk/

Priceless CD D11628

It can be syncopated (stress on a beat other than 1)

ILLUSTRATION

The Comedians/Waltz/Kabalevsky

complexly syncopated

ILLUSTRATION

Symphonies of Wind Instruments/

Stravinsky/Mercury LP 75057

unstressed

ILLUSTRATION

Gregorian Chants/Benedictine Abbey

En Calcat/Bescal CD 503

 

Rhythmic patterns are also found on a larger scale in phrases or musical sentences where they can be paired in a balanced or unbalanced way. They are referred to as symmetrical or asymmetrical, respectively.

Balanced (Symmetrical)

ILLUSTRATIONS The Entertainer/Joplin/MCA CD JVC-485

a. 1st half

b. 2nd half

c. together

Unbalanced (Asymmetrical)

ILLUSTRATIONS CarminaBurana/Dance(4)/OrffRCACD 14550

a. 1st half

b. 2nd half

c. together

TEMPO

ILLUSTRATION

(fast-excitement)

The Comedians/Galop/Kabalevsky/

RCA CD 5661-2-RC

ILLUSTRATION

(slow-repose)

Pie Jesu/Lloyd Weber/NY Counterpoint/RCACD5944-2-RC

MELODY

A series of notes organized to express a musical idea. It can be simple, as in our last illustration, or complex and involved:

ILLUSTRATION

(ornamented) Fanfare/Reiche/RCA CD 14574

It can be played as in the previous two illustrations or sung, as in the next illustration.

ILLUSTRATION

Pat-a-Pan/Julie Andrews/Columbia CD A 20454

Its contour or shape can be generally classified as smooth

ILLUSTRATION

Concerto/1st mvt/Cimaroso/(flute)/ RCA CD 5679-2-RC

or angular

ILLUSTRATION

The Comedians/Pantomime/Kabalevsky/ RCA CD 5661-2-RC

TEXTURE

3 basic types:

monophonic - unaccompanied melody

ILLUSTRATION

What Child Is This/Traditional/

Tom Stacy, English horn/London(Nu-View) 425-215-2

polyphonic - interwoven lines - as in a round

(+ ostinato)

ILLUSTRATION

Canon in D/Pachebel/Archiv 415-518-2

homophonic - as in the following

ILLUSTRATION

Messiah/Hallelujah Chorus/Handel/ Columbia CD A20454

HARMONY

The simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches.

Various types of harmony include:

 

Modality constructed around a mode, a series of notes with a collective identity, a total sound rather than one pitch

ILLUSTRATION

Pines of Rome/2nd mvt/Respighi/BSO/ DG CD 415 846-2

Tonality built around a central tone (pitch), usually the first note of a scale

ILLUSTRATION

Ojos Criolios/Gottschalk/duo-pianists/VOX Prima CD-WCD7139

Atonality combination of pitches as an end in themselves

(Illustrated later in this lecture)

Harmony can be subjectively classified as either consonant or dissonant. Dissonance suggests or creates an atmosphere of tension and uneasiness while consonance creates a feeling of rest or relaxation.

ILLUSTRATION (Dissonance)

Festivals of Rome/1st mvt/Respighi/BSO/ DG CD 415 846-2

ILLUSTRATION (Consonance)

Serenade/Derek Bourgeois/LDRC 1001

COLOR (Timbre)

There are several families of instruments and different colors of sound:

Strings

ILLUSTRATION

Concerto Grosso No. 9, in C Major/2nd mvt/

Avison/ARCHIV CD 415-518-2

Brass (power and color)

ILLUSTRATION

Galliard Battaglia/Scheidt/High, Bright,

etc./RCA RCD 14574

Both of the preceding families produce a homogenous sound throughout the family and are quite capable technically.

Woodwinds (Color)

ILLUSTRATION

Serenade in B-flat, KV 361/Finale/Mozart/

Others Include:

Percussion

Keyboard

ILLUSTRATIONS (Keyboard)

Concerto in D/Final mvt/Haydn/ARCHIV CD 415 518-2

Synthesizer (contemporary keyboard)

ILLUSTRATION (duplication of piano work insynthesized sound)

La Campanile/Liszt/Synthesizer/Newport CD NC 60022

ILLUSTRATION (accompaniment for conventional

instrument)

The First Noel/Traditional/Synthesizer,English horn/London (Nu-view) CD 425-215-2

ILLUSTRATION (with vocal, use of Canon)

My Brain/Poem by Annabel Laurence (10)

Uganda and Music by Gershon Kingsley/

Audio Fidelity Records AFSD 6234

New Sounds with Traditional Instruments

ILLUSTRATION (Atonal!)

Source and work unknown

Musica Concrete

Normal recorded sounds altered to suit the composers wish and desired effect

ILLUSTRATION

Source and work unknown

ORGANIZATION OF TOTAL MATERIALS (see study sheet)

FORM

Two types:

Vocal

Simple forms

hymns

art song or lied

Complex forms

mass

cantata

oratorio

opera

Instrumental

Simple forms

march

dances

waltz

Complex forms

suite

symphony

concerto

sonata

Illustration of form

Minuet from Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K452

 

ILLUSTRATION RCA CD/ RCD 14413

AA BB CC DD AB

 

While all of the preceding are important,

the most important aspect of music is its

emotional content and ability to communicate.

 

 

 

2003/DS